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Tuesday, March 20, 2018 07:59:47 PM
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People responsible for flyover accident must be severely dealt with

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THE fatal flyover accident in which a 36-metre-long girder of Moghbazar-Malibagh Flyover fell on a railway level crossing killing one worker and leaving two seriously injured came as no surprise. As it appears engineers were fixing the 70- ton heavy concrete slabs at midnight when the crane failed to cause the accident. It was always anticipated in such risky construction, but contractors and project officials largely ignored it to cause human disaster.

What is noticeable is that the authorities have clearly shown indifference to an order of a High Court Bench of Justice Obaidul Hasan and Justice Krishna Debnath in March last year which asked for effective public safety measures in Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover construction to protect workers and pedestrians. Neglect to public safety and particularly indifference to pay heed to the court order is a criminal offense that resulted in the killing of a worker and amputation of legs of two others. In our view the concerned supervising officials must be held accountable and put to dock.

Needless to say that the flyover project started in 2012 initially at a cost of Tk 1219 crore has so far made several cost and time over-run. Meanwhile, media reports often highlighted big corruption and misuse of budgeted resources in the flyover project by contractors and local project officials. It has become a source of making overnight fortune to many as the project sees no end to the construction work.   

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED)'s claim following the accident that it has set up a probe committee to ascertain the cause of the accident appears quite misleading to many. Because in public eyes the reason is clear and simple and that is the absence of the mandatory safety measures at workplace. People will not be wrong if they believe that such committee may eventually protect the responsible people for failing to ensure workplace safety that caused the fatalities. 

We have voiced concerns on many occasions over public safety from massive construction work of flyovers in the city but it appears that the value of human life remains less important to the contractors than amassing wealth. It is sad that the contractors have hired the worker who died in the accident for four hours nighttime duty only to control traffic. He was not even conscious of the safety risks. The girder installation was taking place at a very busy city traffic point with a railway level crossing. We must say we have averted big casualties because the accident has taken place at midnight.

Prof Shamsul Hoque of BUET, who drew the layout of the Kuril flyover and another flyover at Banani said the accident happened apparently while stressing the girder on the piers -- a way of strengthening and enhancing the stability of the girder. He said extra precautions are mandatory and more so in densely populated city points. So the fatality can't be claimed to be a mere accident. There is no accountability of public functionaries so our fear is wrong persons will be punished.

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